Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: Daisy Jones & the Six takes readers on a realistic, rockin' ride

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is better than it has any right to be. An oral history about a band, that isn’t a real band, told entirely through interviews, that aren’t real interviews? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. And yet … it works. So well. It’s so engaging, feels so real. It opens the portal to every rock documentary, interview, book about a band and performance I’ve ever loved.

As I read, I connected to the characters in this book while at the same time an invisible thread was binding all my past music loves to me and to this story. It's magic.

The way Taylor Jenkins Reid describes the creation of these songs, of this classic album, rings true. The longing and passion and infighting, oh my God, the infighting – if that isn’t a pure, passionate rock ’n’ roll story, I don’t know what is. The key that clicks so perfectly in the lock here is that it all feels genuine.

You’ll love this book even if you aren’t a watcher of rock docs and reader of band books. But if you do those things (particularly ones about ’70s era megabands), there’s another layer of richness you’ll access in Daisy Jones & The Six.

The story here calls to mind, but never mimics, the dynamics of Fleetwood Mac in their heyday, back when their relationships were falling apart yet they were still coming together to create Rumours. Daisy definitely gives out Stevie Nicks vibes. But while you'll notice a few similarities, the characters are unique creations living out this crazy ride of creating a classic album.

I loved (and still miss) Behind the Music, and the author said in a Rolling Stone, interview that she wanted this book to feel like an episode of that show – and she succeeded. Reid was also inspired by the documentary about the Eagles, History of the Eagles. You can see in that film how much tension there was in the Eagles, how they fought and held grudges. The Six does this too, and that feels very real.

The one thing you don’t get is to hear the songs this band created – but you will. Amazon ordered a series based on the book, and someone somewhere is working on making these songs real. These are supposed to be amazing, megahit, classic songs – that's a tall order. But I’m rooting for them. How could I not? As a character says in this book: “I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise it's not faith, right?”

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